Rhyme and punishment go hand in hand in America. This week, we are featuring Louder Than A Riot, an incredible new podcast from NPR Music. It reveals the interconnected rise of hip-hop and mass incarceration. From Bobby Shmurda to Nipsey Hussle, each episode explores an artist's story to examine a different aspect of the criminal justice system that disproportionately impacts Black America.
The Badder, The Better: Bobby Shmurda (Pt 1)
Just like his legendary disappearing hat, Brooklyn rapper Bobby Shmurda's career was on the rise in 2014. But so was the evidence in a murder case against his crew, GS9. In the first of three episodes exploring Bobby's story, we look at his come-up through the eyes of former Epic Records exec Sha Money XL, who guided Bobby on his tightrope walk from the streets to superstardom. What happens when the industry capitalizes on a criminal persona? And do record execs have the juice to back Bobby up when things get too hot?
Content Advisory: This story contains strong language and the mention of drug use and guns. Sensitive listeners, please be advised.
Be sure to visit Louder Than A Riot to hear Part 2 and 3 of Bobby Shmurda’s story and listen to more incredible episodes. Follow the show on Twitter @LouderThanARiot and subscribe!
To hear the music in this episode, check out the Louder Than A Riot playlists on Apple Music & Spotify.
Louder Than A Riot is hosted by NPR Music's Rodney Carmichael and Sidney Madden, this podcast is invested in power from all angles — the power the music industry wields over artists, the power of institutional forces that marginalize communities of color, the power of the prison industrial complex and the power dynamics deep-rooted in the rap game.
Illustration by Dale Edwin Murray for NPR
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